The Philadelphia Union, amid a rare two-game losing skid, may get arguably their best player back for Matchday 6 action.
Head coach Jim Curtin has expressed optimism that goalkeeper Andre Blake can start in Saturday’s home match against Sporting Kansas City (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).
The three-time Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year has missed Philadelphia’s last three games across all competitions after injuring his groin in a March 11 home match vs. Chicago Fire FC. With Blake now back in training, he'd miss just under three weeks total.
"The hope is that he [Blake] will play on Saturday," Curtin said during his Wednesday media availability. "He’s the best goalkeeper that our league has and we're stronger with him in the group. So he's a great goalkeeper, he's been a quick healer in the past. Hopefully everything stays on schedule.
"… All signs are pointing to a positive return for Andre to the group on the weekend."
In Blake’s absence, Philadelphia have turned to veteran backup Joe Bendik. He helped the Union advance to the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals, but they’ve also lost 3-2 at CF Montréal and 2-1 against Orlando City SC on consecutive weekends.
Blake’s return would coincide with several other Union mainstays returning from international duty, most notably Hungarian midfielder Dániel Gazdag and Venezuelan midfielder José Martínez. These developments would leave the 2022 MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield runner-up “pretty much at full strength” when hosting a slumping SKC.
In addition to league play, Blake’s presence would boost Philadelphia's CCL aspirations. They’ll start a quarterfinal series Tuesday against Liga MX side Atlas.